Creating new trilingual books to develop a three-language policy in educational institutions in Kazakhstan | Статья в сборнике международной научной конференции

Отправьте статью сегодня! Журнал выйдет 15 апреля, печатный экземпляр отправим 19 апреля.

Опубликовать статью в журнале

Библиографическое описание:

Шакулиева, А. Т. Creating new trilingual books to develop a three-language policy in educational institutions in Kazakhstan / А. Т. Шакулиева. — Текст : непосредственный // Аспекты и тенденции педагогической науки : материалы VII Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Санкт-Петербург, декабрь 2020 г.). — Санкт-Петербург : Свое издательство, 2020. — С. 5-8. — URL: (дата обращения: 02.04.2023).

Educational institutions in Kazakhstan need new trilingual books and textbooks to develop a three language policy. Furthermore, Kazakhstan needs a new immersion training program for a teaching staff that would be able to teach other content areas — science and history, for instance, at three languages. Thus, there is also a certain necessity to create a different approach for students who used to study a foreign language as a separate course.

The USA, where 31 states have adopted English as their official language since 1980s (“The English official movement in the U.S”), provides a few language program models that school districts can provide for the instruction of English language learners. Three of these models include: the ESL (English as a Second Language) pullout model, the transitional bilingual education model, and the dual language (enrichment) model (Alfredo H. Benavides et al. / Procedia — Social and Behavioral Sciences 46, 2012) [1].

However, one of NIS in North Kazakhstan region as well as the most educational institutions in Kazakhstan focused on transitional bilingual programs or subtractive bilingualism, when students start learning two or three languages but later focus only in English language, which certainly doesn’t improve fluency and proficiency as effectively as implementing the diversity of language learning models. NIS and other Educational institutions in Kazakhstan, for instance, have started using Content and Integrated Language Learning (CLIL), where students learn a subject and a second language (English) at the same time and it is planned to teach Physics, Chemistry, Math and other subjects at English language from 9 to 11 grades. These language learning methods could be referred to transitional bilingual programs but these programs have a lot of pressure to exit the students out of the program with a focus on English language acquisition at the expense of content-area learning and the deemphasizing of their heritage language, and use English exclusively as their language of instruction [2]. As the result of subtractive bilingualism, a native language receives little focus or none.

Dual language Programming, however, provides grade level curriculum in both languages. Dual language programs vary in terms of the amount of time specified for each language and which grades, languages, and populations they serve. Speakers of each language develop proficiency in their native language and in the target language [3].

If to analyze the experience of bilinguals around the world, it will become clear that they do not have the same degree of fluency in all of their languages. A language that is used primarily in academic situations may come across as stiff and stilted when used in less formal situations. Family issues are often more easily discussed in a home language. Depending on where parents live when the first child is born, can also influence their knowledge as they could only know the vocabulary for baby items in one language and find the same discussions difficult when visiting family in the country of origin. The concept of a “balanced bilingual” is rarely a reality in the world of multilingualism.

Now, due to globalism, in Kazakhstan there are a lot of examples of inter-ethnical marriages, where partners speak different languages and children live in the atmosphere of bilingualism. There are also many situations when families move to other countries to study or to work while children go to kindergarten or primary school and, by the time they come back, children could communicate at least 2 languages but can still experience difficulties to attend the school. For example, it may be difficult for a bilingual child to recount events in a home language that took place in the school language. Words, phrases and meanings used in a school setting are not necessarily used in the home language. The existing teaching process in most educational institutions in Kazakhstan as well as in NIS does not provide books and tasks which could develop all three languages in a balanced way.

In the book “Learning to Read and Write in the Multilingual Family” the professor Xiao-lei Wang writes, “Despite past criticism that using dual language or multi-language text would encourage children to read the easier language, recent studies found that children who are reading dual or multiliteracy materials can transfer the literacy skills and concepts developed in one language to another (often a strong one to a weaker one) and promote overall literacy skill development”. Professor Xiao-lei Wang gives us two examples of how dual or multiliteracy materials help bilingual children master their languages: “They provide predictability from one language to another. Literacy experts have long advocated that using repeated reading materials helps facilitate comprehension and introduce children to the way print works. And they provide children with an opportunity to compare and contrast the texts and develop metalinguistic ability (ability to notice the different features in different languages)” [4].

To help bilingual children build literacy in three languages as much as possible, teachers and parents should take advantage of the benefits that Dual Language Programming, bilingual and trilingual books and other multilingual materials provide.

Kazakhstan needs to use the experience of Dual Language Programming and it is also necessary to modify it as students need to have fluency and proficiency at three languages. Otherwise, the fact that Kazakh and Russian languages are represented in the classroom will be considered a problem by educators.

At the current time, One of the NIS schools in North region and other schools in Kazakhstan apply the method when the class is divided into small groups to work on math, for example. The teacher gives instruction in English, and some students might declare they do not understand. The teacher continues in |English — they have to, it's part of the teaching guidelines: to stick with the language and trust students to catch up, and they usually do. But they usually catch up with the help of some of the classmates, who usually lean over and offer a little translation. The typical experience for some Kazakh-speaking or Russian-speaking kids is, they come to school and feel uncomfortable most of the time, but if schools start implementing Dual Language programming students could be the smart kids all the time.

Some language learners can easily switch between languages, the others could still be a lot more comfortable with their native languages. So, if the educational institutions want to provide the comfort of students’ native languages with the skill-building potential of reading, writing, listening and speaking in the target languages, there is no better solution than Dual Language programming adopted for a new trilingual language-model in Kazakhstan.

To implement Dual Language Programming in Kazakhstan, NIS and other educational institutions need to have new schoolbooks. One of the main objectives of new professional guides for teachers, administrators, leadership teams and students should be the concept of bridging between languages and the biliteracy to be able to read A bai, Pushkin, and Shakespeare in their original languages as well as to provide the chance to switch from one language to another in a more efficient way. Moreover, teacher and parent support material should accompany these resources.

New types of trilingual books should be taught by either partnered — teachers or by a teacher who is fluent and proficient at three languages as segmentation hasn’t been proven effective at attaining fluency in foreign language, and Dual Language Programming outperforms other language learning programs in developing fluency.

It is not a popular or reaffirming observation that if a child who is not already multilingual by the first grade, probably never will be. So, educational institutions need to apply new trilingual books for students from an early age as they could be a great way to start the new effective changes in education.

Bilingual books are typically formatted so one page or passage of foreign language reading is paired up with the corresponding English language translation of that material. As now we practice online education, due to COVID-19 in most of the schools in Kazakhstan, we should also focus on e-books which could make trilingual formatting even more practical. For example, sometimes the translation in bilingual books is accessible on a paragraph-by-paragraph or even line-by-line format, and in digital form it could appear when the reader clicks or taps on what needs to be translated. Other times, pages could be divided into columns with both languages represented, so the students could swipe and click back and forth between the two languages. It is definitely less frustrating to read without having to use a translation app or dictionary. And new trilingual e-books, which students could use during the lessons, might also have separate dictionary look-ups. For example, if students read a trilingual e-book that switches between original text and translation every page, they can choose to just look up a single word with their default dictionary rather than flipping to the next page and spoiling an initial try at interpreting the general meaning of the text.

For the above reasons, learners could feel that trilingual e-books are less intimidating than “regular” foreign language books, as foreign language books that are not bilingual present the entire text in the target language. As a result, endless pages of foreign text can be off-putting for students. The fact that trilingual e-books translate a text and place it within eyeshot of readers through the convenience of weightless technology makes this a doubly friendly and accessible method of reading and, moreover, it could be a great way to implement technologies during the teaching process. At the same time, the constant complain of parents that children have to carry heavy rucksacks could be also solved if educational institutions start using more e-books which are also eco-friendly.

It will not be essential whether the students attend NIS, Kazakh, Russian or English schools as Dual Language Programming and trilingual books could provide them with the practice and extra support in all three languages and ensure that they will succeed.

Educational institutions don’t need to introduce trilingual books at all the grades and subjects simultaneously. There is no shame in starting “small” — keep new books basic to begin with. Educational institutions can use fables, which are solid reading materials and are available for trilingual e-reading at such lessons as Kazakh, Russian and English.

New trilingual books should be a guide for teachers and parents who wish to raise children with more than one language and literacy. They should be focused on interdisciplinary research, as well as the experiences of multilingual children, these new trilingual books should walk students through the multilingual reading and writing process from an early age to adolescence. New trilingual books should identify essential literacy skills at each developmental stage and propose effective strategies that facilitate multiliteracy, in particular, heritage-language literacy development both in the home and school environment.

New trilingual books should offer a wide palette of strategies, ideas, practical activities, reading lists, and real-life examples of how to develop fluency at three languages. The ultimate aim should be to help students to develop and implement a literacy plan that meets the needs of their personal multilingual situation.

The usage of trilingual books during teaching process eliminates some potential vocabulary or storyline questions. Students can already have an idea of who the characters are and how the plot progresses, so it is not a stretch to figure a few things out without having to look at the translated page. But when all else fails — learners can use the translations — that is why the books should be presented in three languages and they could be applied in any classes with Kazakh- speaking, Russian-speaking or English-speaking students, which could guarantee that there is no academic gap between their knowledge.

As students learn new words and phrases, while reading trilingual books, they should complete a vocabulary list, which should also be included in every unit. Vocabulary lists are a language learner’s best friend. They are perfect for filling up empty minutes during the lessons. Now there are a lot of applications which suggest a lot of ways to practice new words and which could be included in the design of new trilingual e-books.

For new trilingual books which could be applied in Kazakhstan the choice of fables as a reading material is justified since they tend to be so widely translated and easier to find in trilingual format. New bilingual books could be represented as a collection of classic fables which would be arranged in a chronological order (from the oldest to the most recently written) with accompanying text that gives readers insight into the authors who wrote them as well as the period in which they were written. New trilingual books could be not only entertaining — with Kazakh, Russian and English language learning value — but also educational in a historical and cultural sense.

Fables can develop students’ reading skills and they usually have morals which can be used as a way to develop students’ analytical skills. Fables are deeply philosophical but simple enough for even the younger ones to grasp. Fables also could teach how to be brave in the face of adversity, how to cooperate with those close to them, how to accept everyone for who they are, and how to distinguish the wrong choice from the right one. Learners will have more empathy for those who are different than they are. This is something that is perhaps most important because all through life he or she will have to interact with unique individuals who speak different languages and live in other countries.

Fables instill a kind of empathy that may be hard to pass on in other ways. Reading fables in Kazakh, Russian and English is a helpful way to practice language skills while learning more about important literature.

Still there are some issues which should be solved before publishing and implementing new trilingual books for NIS and other educational institutions in Kazakhstan. Some of these challenges connected with developing multilingual literacy could be:

− Time constraints as there is always a competition between the time interval which is necessary to develop native language and target language literacy and proficiency

− Lack of resources as there are not many trilingual books which are written in Kazakh, Russian and English books which could be used as a model for new books

− Conflicting teaching styles as at some subjects it is allowed to make up stories, talk about stories in front of the whole class but at other subjects students have to focus and are not allowed to talk or to write except dictations

− Teaching materials are remote from children’s lives as some of the books are full of political undertones and religious dogma

− Lack of practical advice books for parents as most of books tend to focus on young children and not on elder children

− Lack of support as family, school, community and society should work together to develop multilingualism.

It is clear that multilingual child or pupil has a preference for one language over the other. Trilingual books should offer a way to bridge that gulf, and to reassure students that it is all right to speak two or more languages and that to know more than one language is an enriching experience.


  1. Alfredo H. Benavides et al. / Procedia — Social and Behavioral Sciences 46 (2012) 2302–2306
  2. Ovando, C. & Combs, M.C. (2012). Bilingual and ESL classrooms: Teaching in multicultural contexts (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. (Ovando & Combs, 2012; Thomas & Collier, 2003)
  3. Diaz-Rico, L.T. (2012). A course for teaching English learners (2nd ed). Boston: Pearson.
  4. Professor Xiao- lei Wang (2011) — Learning to read and write in the Multilingual Family, Multilingual matters